When I filled out the survey for the Chromebook, there was a little checkbox at the end, saying “Would you use the Cr-48 as your primary computer?” and who wouldn’t check it, if it meant getting a free laptop? So I checked it, and after a honeymoon of two days because of its novelty, a nightmare of two months ensued. Bottom line: I cannot imagine using the Chromebook as my primary computer. Ever.
- It’s super slow. Like epic slow. Like slower than particles at 0 degree Kelvin. OK, I may be exaggerating. The startup time may be speedy, but once I put in my password, and my pinned tabs open up (Gmail, Extensions, Google Reader, nothing fancy), the Chromebook takes a long minute to become acceptably receptive to manipulation. Also, if I am opening multiple tabs at once, if one tab is still loading, the rest of the tabs remain a blank white until the final tab loads. This particularly bites when one tab is very content rich. There is also a noticeable delay when I open a new tab–it’s not smooth at all. My Asus UL80VT takes around the same time to boot from hibernation, and its Chrome runs like butter.
- It loves to cache. I religiously clear the cache every day, but still Chrome insists on being slow!
- The battery takes forever to charge. It might be just me, but when I plug my Asus, it takes around an hour, then it’s good for 8 hours. When I charge the Chromebook, it takes around 3 hours to get up 8 hours of juice. This is not ideal for something on the go, if you need to dock it for such a long time to charge.
- The apps misfunction all the time. One of the best things about Chrome OS are the panels, which is utilized in the Google Talk app for Chromebook. However, 4 out of 5 times I click on the app to start it, the panel remains blank. I like this feature so much that I obsessively restart the Chromebook until it works again. Even then, the people who are online appear offline, and I’ve been told by Ian that I am in fact “online” when I set my status as “invisible.” I restart the computer when Incredible Startpage isn’t working either; it will tell me that Chrome Bookmarks aren’t “ready” when the notebook has been running for 10 minutes already. Also, Chromed Bird periodically stops working too–I have to go to the Extensions page and disable and re-enable. SO MUCH WORK! UNACCEPTABLE!
- Sometimes I need to turn my fingers into ninjas to get the trackpad to recognize my double finger tap. Since the whole trackpad is one big left click button, the only way to right click is to double finger tap, and though I have the trackpad set to the highest sensitivity, it does not register at times, and I have to stab the trackpad multiple times. Annoying. PS This would never happen on a Mac.
- The download center is a horror to navigate. Sure, I downloaded this picture.. but then where exactly did it go?! I think Google should integrate saving images with Picasa, so it will truly be in the cloud, not somewhere in this esoteric Linux system.
- There is no online equivalent to native desktop applications. Though I do most of my word processing on Google Docs nowadays, it’s nowhere near the capability of Microsoft Word. Though I may type initial drafts in Google Docs, I will always switch to Word for final drafts and formatting. Also, the other elephant in the room: iTunes. The transition to the cloud will be slow from Apple (I hypothesized about it last year, but to no avail), and until then, I want to listen to my SHINee.
Though I must say that the Chromebook has been extremely handy for watching episodes of DragonBall Z: the battery lasts for 4 hours on continuous video. Also, the Cr-48 is light and sufficiently sturdy for me to toss around without damaging.
However, in real life, I need a computer that can do more than stream DragonBall Z episodes. I can deal with a fragile computer if it is fast and reliable (read: Cr-48 is neither fast nor reliable). Though the Chromebook has all the specs of a good netbook, it still runs disappointingly slow and is buggy.
Google definitely has a long way to run before Chrome OS can go to market: it needs to make Chrome OS faster, smoother, get rid of bugs, make sure that native desktop applications can be satisfactorily replaced by online applications, clean up its file storage. In short, Google needs to polish Chrome OS like nuts before it can run with sleek competitors such as the MacBook Air and breathe life into the netbook market in face of the expanding tablet market. 2011 will be an uphill battle for Google on all fronts.